Pro Tip: Here are five tips to help food manufacturers navigate the FDA’s regulations on nutrient content claims.

Nutrient content claims permitted by the US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) are provided for in the Code of Federal Regulations for those approved by the FDA, or on the FDA’s website for those accepted by way of an industry notification.

These five tips can assist you with making your nutrient content claims:

1. Read the claim requirements each time you are assessing a product for a claim. Since many of the claims can be similar in wording (low fat, low saturated fat and low sodium, for example) it is easy to confuse the details for each claim.

2. Some claims are based on the amount of a nutrient in the labeled serving of the food (calculated according to regulations) while some are based on the amount of nutrient in the reference amount customarily consumed (RACC) for the food (provided by the FDA in 21CFR101.12). Some claims may utilize the amount of the nutrient in both.

3. When making a claim about the amount of a nutrient in your food in comparison to another food, you are making a relative claim and need to provide additional information in the claim.

4. For any nutrient content claim, you will need to assess the amount of the following four nutrients: total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. If specified levels of these nutrients are exceeded, then you will need to include a “disclosure statement” next to your nutrient content claim.

5. Watch out for nutrient content claims that are not defined by the FDA as they would not be permitted on food labels. For instance, “low carbohydrates” is not defined by the FDA.

It is always a good idea to use a third-party expert, like AIB International, to ask for help when in doubt.

Elaine Meloan is a manager at AIB International.